“Heading Towards Earth” –Strange ‘Red Flag’ Phenomena at Milky Way’s Center (Weekend Feature) - The Daily Galaxy --Great Discoveries Channel
Jul 04, 2020 1 min, 56 secs
Home » Astronomy » “Heading Towards Earth” –Strange ‘Red Flag’ Phenomena at Milky Way’s Center (Weekend Feature).

To determine the amount of energy or radiation at the center of the Milky Way, researchers had to peer through a galaxy packed with more than 200 billion stars and harbors dark patches of interstellar dust and gas.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor Bob Benjamin—a leading expert on the structure of stars and gas in the Milky Way– was taking a look at two decades’ worth of data when he spotted a scientific red flag —a peculiar shape poking out of the Milky Way’s dark, dusty center rippling with highly-energized ionized hydrogen moving in the direction of Earth.

A new image at the top of the page shows the Milky Way’s violent center spanning a distance of more than 600 light-years, revealing details within the dense swirls of gas and dust in high resolution, opening the door to future research into how massive stars are forming and what’s feeding the supermassive black hole at our galaxy’s core.

Liberated from its usual patchy dust cover, by using optical light, the Tilted Disk can be studied with infrared or radio light techniques, which allow researchers to make observations through the dust, but limit their ability to learn more about ionized gas.

“Being able to make these measurements in optical light allowed us to compare the nucleus of the Milky Way to other galaxies much more easily,” Haffner said.

At least 48 percent of the hydrogen gas in the Tilted Disk at the center of the Milky Way has been ionized by an unknown source, the team reported.

The gaseous, ionized structure changes as it moves away from the Milky Way’s center, researchers reported.

“Close to the nucleus of the Milky Way,” astronomer “DK” Krishnarao explained, “gas is ionized by newly forming stars, but as you move further away from the center, things get more extreme, and the gas becomes similar to a class of galaxies called LINERs, or low ionization (nuclear) emission regions.”

The structure appeared to be moving toward Earth because it was on an elliptical orbit interior to the Milky Way’s spiral arms, researchers found

With the nucleus of the Milky Way only tens of thousands of light-years away, we can now study a LINER region in more detail

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